WHEELING - The 2014 election season starts Wednesday in West Virginia, when early voting opens across the state.
The state's primary election is May 13. Residents can cast early ballots, for any reason, Wednesday through May 10.
The times for voting in area counties are as follows:
Brooke County - Early voting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Sunday;
Hancock County - Voters can cast ballots between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each weekday;
Ohio County - Voting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Sunday; and
Polls in all counties also will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and on the last day for voting, May 10. All county clerks offices are closed on Sundays.
Statewide, there are contested primaries for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Three Republicans are seeking the nomination - U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, Larry Butcher and Matthew Dodrill. Three Democrats - Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, David Wamsley and Dennis Melton - face off for that party's nomination.
Brooke County voters will decide a race for a seat on the county commission between incumbent Norma Tarr and challenger Stacey Hukill Wise, both Democrats. All other races automatically move on to November's general election.
In Hancock County, contested races include a county commission seat and three posts on the Hancock County Board of Education.
Incumbent Dan Greathouse and challenger Joe Barnabei, both Democrats from Weirton, will face off for the commission seat. Meanwhile, four candidates are going for the school board seats: Toni Hinerman of Weirton; Laura Greathouse of New Cumberland; John Manypenny of New Cumberland and Michelle Chappell of New Cumberland.
Brooke County voters also will decide whether to continue two levies in the county, one to fund the county's volunteer fire departments, and another focused on the county's libraries, ambulance and other services.
Voter identification is required for first time voters, while those residents casting their first ballots need to bring their voter registration cards with them to the polls. No identification is required for established voters, but officials suggest they bring a registration card or driver's license with them. The address on the identification assists poll workers with processing the voter.